I cherish my mornings at home. One of the many pleasures of being my own boss is that I can decide how I want to start my day. There are subtle differences to each day, like whether I get myself onto the elliptical for a little workout. The one thing that remains the same is that I take Maki out to let her do her doos. As soon as I get back, I pour myself a mug of coffee and prepare something to nibble on. I go through phases with my breakfasts. It can be a taco with a fried egg and sliced avocado, or some scrambled eggs with sauteed kale. I’m also not opposed to just reaching for a container of leftovers. Cold veggie fried rice? Perfect! Right now, however, I’m into granola. Yes, I know it’d be so much easier to just grab a box at the grocery store, but I’d be missing something so wonderful if I did that. Like a lot of foods, I feel very strongly about what’s in my granola. There should be a variety of textures going on. I don’t want it too sweet.
This particular granola recipe was inspired by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque’s fabulous book Brown Eggs and Jam Jars. And the timing couldn’t have been better. You see, Eric and I recently tapped our maple tree out back. He hooked up a spigot that was fitted with a tube that ran into a five gallon water jug. Within a day and a half, the thing was full. Since I’m the one who works from home (when I’m not out on a shoot), I was in charge of boiling the sap down into syrup. The process was not nearly as complicated as I thought it’d be, though the four hours it took (using three large pots) made me question how often we needed to do this. The result was wonderful, a light amber colored syrup with a natural sweetness that one only really finds in this or honey. I should also note that there’s a section in Aimée’s book on harvesting maple syrup. Just another reason to order a copy.
The bottle has been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks. I’ve struggled to find a use for it. And that’s why I was so excited to make this maple granola. I like a lot of things in my granola, so I loaded it with dried fruit (cherries and cranberries), sunflower seeds, pepitas, chopped walnuts, and, of course, oats. After it’s tossed together with the maple syrup, a couple tablespoons of butter, and a sprinkle of salt, I baked it in the oven until golden brown.
So, thank you Aimee for your beautiful, inspiring recipe. I hope everyone goes and picks up a copy of your book right now.